After a long battle with cancer, PBS NewsHour TV anchor Gwen Ifill passed away on Monday at the age of 61.
Ifill served as a co-host of NewsHour since 2013, along with Judy Woodruff. The veteran journalist also hosted PBS’ Washington Week. However, ongoing health issues prevented Ifill from covering the 2016 election last week. She also took a temporary leave of absence from the independent public network back in May.
PBS’ President and CEO Paula Kerger released a statement, describing the respected reporter as “one of America’s leading lights in journalism, and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” according to People.
In a statement, PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just called Ifill “a standard bearer for courage, fairness, and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” reports Politico.
Just also reflected on Ifill’s commitment to giving back and mentoring younger journalists, saying, “She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her.”
Ifill, a prominent political journalist, moderated two vice presidential debates; the 2004 vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards and the 2008 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Last year, she moderated one of the primary debates between Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In 2009, Ifill authored the bestselling book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She began her career in journalism working as a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American. She then went on to work for The Washington Post and The New York Times.
A number of reporters and elected officials, including Tamron Hall and Chuck Todd, expressed their grief over Ifill’s death on Twitter:
Heartbroken to learn Gwen Ifill has passed away. She was my hero, a woman who deserved all the praise she received. Honest and true— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) November 14, 2016